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Field Crop Development Centre

The Field Crop Development Centre (FCDC) has been developing enhanced cereal varieties for feed, forage, malt, food and bio-industrial uses since 1972. The FCDC is recognized as a world-class research facility that is focusing on producing new barley and triticale varieties, as well as maintaining a vast source of germplasm. The researchers continue to focus on high yield, improved disease resistance, and superior end use quality characteristics. The plant breeders employ traditional plant breeding techniques as well as single seed descent to advance lines at a faster rate. Variety development is supported by FCDC’s pathology, biotechnology, and quality laboratories, which use technology such as molecular markers and Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) to more efficiently target specific disease resistance and quality characteristics.

Triticale Breeding 

The triticale breeding program aims to develop new spring triticale varieties with higher grain yield, forage yield, and lodging resistance, adapted to variable growing conditions in western Canada. Specifically, the program focuses on enhanced forage digestibility with reduced awns for swath-grazing and green forage uses. Improved drought tolerance, early maturity, reduced pre-harvest sprouting, and FHB and ergot resistance for feed grain are also program goals.

Barley Breeding 

Within the barley breeding program we focus on:

Feed and Forage

The objective of the feed program is to develop high yielding barley varieties that will increase barley grain production in Alberta. We also aim to develop forage varieties with enhanced fodder quality (energy content, fiber digestibility) and improved whole plant forage yields for silage, greenfeed, or swath grazing. Additional priorities of the feed and forage barley program include superior agronomic traits such as lodging resistance, early maturity, and enhanced grain and biomass characteristics. Varieties also need to have a good combination of resistance to multiple diseases such as scald, net blotch (spot- and net-form), spot blotch, smuts, stem and stripe rusts, and FHB.

Malt

The objective of this program is to develop varieties of two-row malting barley with good malting quality characteristics that are desired by the marketplace and will enhance overall economic returns with high yields and good agronomic adaptation. In addition, good disease resistance and tolerance to abiotic stresses such as low nitrogen, water, cold, and other adverse environmental factors are considered.